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Published March 29, 2012, 09:03 PM

Measure 2 Forum Has Many Asking Questions

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Property taxes would be eliminated if voters approve Measure 2 on the June ballot, and at the public forum on Thursday night, people seemed to oppose the measure.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Property taxes would be eliminated if voters approve Measure 2 on the June ballot, and at the public forum on Thursday night, people seemed to oppose the measure.

Homeowners, farmers and local officials say the are worried about who will pay for roads, schools and other local projects, if property taxes are eliminated.

The proposed south end Grand Forks school was a hot topic at the meeting, as many wondered where the money to fund that school would come from if this measure were to pass.

"Taking away property taxes is going to be a tax shift, not a tax cut," Jon Godfread with the ND Chamber of Commerce said.

A possible shift to sales tax is what most are assuming.

"Sales tax could double. The money has to come from somewhere so it's really questionable where it will come from," farmer Brent Schmitz said.

But Measure 2 advocates believe the money is available to fully eliminate property tax.

"Caps on what you can spend is already in the state constitution," Measure 2 advocate Charlene Nelson said.

And instead use gambling, entertainment and other revenues to fund what property tax is used for locally. The question is, what happens when that money runs out?

"That's not near enough to make up for the loss of property tax," Robert Drees with the Grand Forks County Farm Bureau said.

"100 percent of K-12 will be funded by the state," Nelson said.

"In nowhere in here does it say its 100 percent funded," Godfread said.

There's worry that roads, infrastructure and schools won't be properly and fully funded.

"Apparently the other side doesn't know what full and properly means," Nelson said.

Lifting the property tax would be a weight off the shoulders of farmers, but those at this session said they would rather pay the price now than pay it later.

"I think it's a good thing. I don't think it's a bad thing because it keeps the school districts running, it keeps the townships running, it keeps the county running," Schmitz said.

If Measure 2 passes, it will be another seven years before an amendment could be made to write property tax back into the state constitution.

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